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Explorer III

Change Role of Admin in Course

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Hello all. We are looking at using Canvas for professional development and learning in our district. We have different "branches"--the digital learning team and the curriculum and learning team. The C&L team would like to join our course to earn badges, however, they have Course Administrator rights as their account roles. Even when enrolled in our course as a student (course level role) they can still manage the quizzes. So rather than being able to take the assigned quizzes, they can only preview them. Is there a way to change this, without causing them to lose the ability to edit quizzes they have created in their own modules?

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The way we get around it is with a secondary account setup for admin (myself included) where our regular University accounts have account admin privileges. The secondary account is used to access a course as a student. We have these accounts authenticate directly to Canvas instead of through our authentication portal. It's not ideal, but it works fine.


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11 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

Hi Misty,

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, admin rights will always trump course roles, so if your admins want to participate in courses as a student they will need to be logged into Canvas with an account that does not have admin rights.  Sorry.

We are having some of the same problems on our Campus because we have Federally mandated training courses and quizzes that have been built in Canvas and our 4 admins can no longer participate. Smiley Sad

I thought there was a more recent feature idea for this, but this was the closest I could find - - and it's already been voted on and archived due to lack of votes. Maybe it's time to revive it!

Hi Kona,

Have you tried using subaccounts to handle this issue?  Someone can be an admin for Subaccount 1, and be a student in Subaccount 2.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Nope, but thanks for the work around suggestion! Unfortunately for us all of our Admins are master of the universe admins and have rights to everything... including all sub-account information.

Thank you Scott. I appreciate the quick reply!


Unfortunately, this is a known bug.  We're running into this issue with our student workers.  The only solution is to use subaccounts, and assign that group as an admin over their subaccount with all of their courses, and your course would be under a different subaccount.  So for example, the Business college designers would only be admins in the Business subaccount, and then they could take courses in the English college subaccount without their admin powers.  This becomes far more difficult if they need to design courses in the same subaccount that their "student" courses are.

In the end, for those people that MUST be full-school admins and MUST be students, we eventually created second accounts, one for their day job and one for their classes.  This then causes issues because they can use their admin account to cheat, so it does require some close monitoring.

Please submit this bug with Canvas, as more voices behind an issue cause them to put more resources towards fixing it.  You can do so by "report a problem" in the help menu, and also through your CSM.  I'd suggest doing both.

Hey Anthony,

I don't think this aspect of Canvas is technically a bug because, unless I'm mistaken if was actually designed this way.  Like Kona I think there as been more conversation about this before in the community but I'm not seeing it right now.  Again, I could be wrong but I think the rationale was that admins being inadvertently added to courses as students exceeded admins having to use one login for admin duties another for student level activity.  In either case there isn't any reason people shouldn't submit an idea and vote it up if they think it should change.  FWIW, I encountered the same problem when I was an LMS admin at a college.

To clarify, in the past I was able to add myself as a student to a course so I could take quizzes and submit assignments (like a student), but I still had all admin rights/features. I was ok with this and that I couldn't be added as a "true" student in a course.

Yet, within the last month or so I lost the abilily to submit things as a student. Can't remember which release it was, but other Admins commented on it as well.

One related problem that we had in ANGEL was that faculty were allowed to invite people to their courses. Even though I was a site admin, if a teacher invited me to their course as a student, usually because they wanted me to investigate something, then I'd be stuck in the course as a student until I logged in with another admin account and removed myself - not a huge problem but annoying in a very minor way.